- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) - The two people killed when a small plane crashed into a house in Sauk Rapids were a German foreign exchange student hosted by St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis’ family and a commercial pilot who was a friend, Kleis said Monday.

Kleis said 16-year-old Alexander Voigt and the pilot, Scott Olson, 60, were sightseeing when the single-engine plane hit a house Friday night. A man who was in the house escaped by jumping from a second-floor window and was not hurt.

Olson, whose daughter was friends with Voigt, had agreed to give Voigt an aerial tour of the St. Cloud area so Voigt could take pictures, Kleis said. Voigt had spent 10 months in the United States as part of his exchange program and was supposed to fly home to Germany this week, the mayor said.

Voigt’s parents will fly to St. Cloud this week to collect their son’s remains, said Kleis, who has been in contact with the student’s parents.

“Three families are grieving,” Kleis told the St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/1szayXy ), fighting back tears. “We’re really one family now.”

Voigt was a junior at Technical High School, where he played soccer. Kleis said Olson was a friend of Kleis’.

“Scott as a pilot was doing something that he loved and Alexander was on top of the world, having the opportunity of a lifetime,” Kleis said. “Scott was doing a tremendous selfless act in giving a kid the opportunity of a lifetime to take some photos. It’s just so difficult.”

Kleis said there will be a public memorial for Voigt, possibly on Wednesday, the day he was to have flown home.

Voigt had been biking around town Thursday, the day before the plane crash, taking photos so he had memories of his stay in St. Cloud. Olson had tried previously to take Voigt for an aerial view of town but weather or other circumstances had canceled those plans, Kleis said.

“Alexander had wanted for months to have this opportunity,” Kleis said. “What kid wouldn’t want to fly? He wanted to have some aerial pictures.”

Voigt went through graduation ceremonies at Tech this year, a custom with exchange students.

A preliminary report on the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board likely won’t be ready until at least late this week.


Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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